Running a news website is not an easy task. You need to manage your content, ensure that everything you publish is factually correct, listen to your readers’ demands and also stay organized with your publishing schedule. In the midst of all this, where do you find time to conduct proper design research and maintenance on your site?
In other words, how do you know that the WordPress theme you are using for your news site is really up to the mark as far as design is concerned? What if your chosen design layout is making life difficult for your readers? What if it is not, simply put, user-friendly?
In this article, I will be discussing some of the key design considerations that you must bear in mind when picking a WordPress theme for your magazine or news website.
The Importance of Minimalism
Minimalism has long been the de facto standard in praiseworthy web design. However, what exactly is minimalism in web design all about?
In simplest of words, minimalism in web design means making your content speak for itself. The design elements such as banners, graphics, background images, fancy animations, and everything else is reduced to the minimum, and the focus is placed entirely on your content. In this manner, your readers are not distracted by the design elements and can focus on your content.
For a news site, good use of minimalism can go a long way. You would want your readers to focus on the stories that you publish and share them on social networks, after all. What good is a news site if your readers are distracted by gigantic animations and fail to realize the importance of the cutting-edge story that you posted?
However, this does not mean your website should appear to be bland and dull. Minimalism cannot be overdone for the simple fact that too much of anything is bad. There needs to be a balance between fanciness and cleanliness. Whatever design elements are used, readability and usability should not be sacrificed.
Typography and fonts play an important role in the success of any website that thrives on news-related content. For your magazine or news site, your typography should be such that readers do not have any problem going through your content.
In general, it is a good idea to employ readable fonts and avoid fancy fonts, such as ones with excessive decoration. Furthermore, handwriting fonts are a strict negative.
A good magazine WordPress theme generally provides support for changing of fonts in the Theme Customizer itself. This way, you can choose different fonts for headings and body text and ensure that your content is readable across all devices.
UX and UI
UX and UI are often used interchangeably, but there is a whole world of difference between the two. UX refers to User Experience, which in turn implies the manner in which your website’s visitors interact with your site. Thus, popup ads and big toolbars are bad UX, whereas clean and crisp design consists of good UX.
UI, on the other hand, refers to User Interface. In other words, UI is the visible part of your website, the front-end. Naturally, while UX and UI are different from each other, they are also inter-related.
What UI and UX considerations should a news website bear in mind? To begin with, you should first remember the type of content that your website is providing. Are you publishing long form posts on serious topics? In this case, you might consider getting rid of the sidebar and having only footer widgets, so that your readers can read without clutter. Similarly, if you are sharing viral news stories, a sidebar can be of help as you can show trending stories as well as social networks’ updates.
You should also bear in mind that sidebars are just one part of the picture. What about your publishing frequency? If you are posting multiple news stories in one day, your WordPress theme should have a homepage template that can put the focus on your latest stories. But if you are posting sporadically, the focus should be on the organization of content by means of categories and tags, etc.
What Makes a Good Magazine and News WordPress Theme?
So, now that we have put together all the design considerations, what should you ideally look for in a WordPress theme for your news site?
First, and as an absolute must, there should be scope for growth and innovation. A good theme comes with a set of templates and allows you to tweak them. In this manner, you can put together your website without getting a migraine.
For example, look at the Newspaper 7 WordPress theme. It comes with as many as 25 different layouts, such as sports news, breaking news, college news, and so on. Why so? Well, a sports news website might tend to appear different as compared to, say, a political website. By providing you with multiple layouts, Newspaper 7 ensures that you can setup your website the way you want!
Along similar lines, your magazine or news WP theme should have multiple customization options. “Out of the box” solutions that work in a single click – such as a blogging theme with no featured images — rarely make the cut if you are serious about your news website’s appearance.
The ionMag free WordPress theme, for instance, comes with innumerable content blocks, category and page layouts, post templates, and more. With such customization options, you can ensure two things: first, that you have absolute control over your website and second, your website looks truly unique and is no longer a copy of any other website that might be using the same or similar theme.
To sum it up, here are the few key design considerations that your magazine WordPress theme must have:
- Clean and minimal design
- Good typography to facilitate readability
- UX and UI catering to the nature of your content
- Ample customization options and tweaks
- Multiple layouts and design features
- Of course, premium quality support and regular updates!
What do you look for when selecting a WordPress theme for your news or magazine site? Share your views in the comments below!